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Career Story: Reading Specialist And Teaching Enthusiast At An Elementary School

Reading Specialist And Teaching Enthusiast At An Elementary School

Job Title: Teacher And Reading Specialist

Type of Company: I work for a school district in North Carolina's Research Triangle.

Education: MA & MEd, University of Georgia, Campbell University and Emmanuel College (Franklin Springs, Georgia)

Previous Experience: I started in high school working with children's musical programs, baby sitting and Bible & Sunday school assisting.

Job Tasks: I assess students to find exactly what their reading problems are. Can they say words without knowing what they mean? Can they recognize simple words such as "and," "the" and "but" without knowing how to "chunk" a longer word or to figure out how to pronounce it? Can the student even hear sounds? Is it a long or short vowel? Can the student figure out a word like "dangerously" by dividing the word up into parts?

Often I have to educate parents about the need for their child to get extra tutoring or ask the parent to be willing to take time to listen to the child read nightly. Parents are extremely busy but they have to realize we can't do it all for them!

Interacting with the child's regular education teacher is another critical part of my job. I have to collaborate and offer feedback on both the child's successes and challenges. We have to work together to help the child be the best he/she can.

Can the student tell the main idea and supporting details of a passage? Can the student read between the lines and make inferences? All this can be taught. Learning to read requires exercising a muscle, a brain muscle. Practice makes loads of difference!

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Expect long hours, loads of demands and little recognition from anyone other than your students. This is truly a calling.

Job Tips:
1.) Whew! Job shadow at all levels of education. It may be that you are not suited for elementary but would thrive in a high school, and vice versa.

2.) Be sure that you are passionate about kids and their successes. Know that this is an incredible way to continue to grow and learn for a lifetime! In my reading groups, I get to learn about such a span of topic: this week, the endangerment of rain forests along with the requirements it takes to be a wildlife photographer.

3.)LOVE LEARNING? GET into this profession.

Additional Thoughts: It takes soooooooo little to make a positive difference and to positively affect the trajectory of a child's destiny. As much of a cliche as this may sound, as a teacher you'll leave a lasting impression and legacy!

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